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AskMe #2879519 04/05/16 05:06 AM
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2 Corinthians 5:14-15 (NKJV)
14 For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; 15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.

We should not make ourselves, but Christ, the end of our living and actions: and it was one end of Christ's death to cure us of this self-love, and to excite us always to act under the commanding influence of his love. A Christian's life should be consecrated to Christ; and then do we live as we ought to live when we live to Christ, who died for us. [Matthew Henry Commentary]




Stephen Mansfield tells a true story about a church that had an incredible ministry to men. For years the driving force behind the men's ministry was a man named Taylor. His ministry rocked on for years, changing lives and impacting the community. But in the midst of a major transition within the church, Taylor got hurt deeply by his own community and he left the church. He wouldn't talk to anybody. People figured he'd come back eventually, but he didn't.

Finally, some of the men in the church took it upon themselves to reach out to Brother Taylor. After some discussion with the other guys at church they came up with a bold plan: they would set up camp in Taylor's yard�150 men! So they set up rotating shifts and said they wouldn't leave until Taylor came out. They had electric lines running from neighboring houses to power televisions. About twenty smokers and grills worked up some great barbeque food. They were in for the long haul! They even had big signs all over the place: "Taylor, come out." "We love you." "Taylor, we know you're in there."

Taylor didn't appreciate it. He even called the police on his former friends. As a matter of fact, the police showed up twice a day for almost a week. And every time they came, Taylor would came to the door to explain the situation. And every time the men camping in his year would explode with cheers until Taylor finished his chat with the police and went back inside.

But on the sixth day, when Taylor opened the door for the police and the men exploded with cheers, Taylor finally broke down and started crying his eyes out. He sputtered how sorry he was, and then he came out from his porch and greeted the guys who had camped in his yard and refused to go away. Such is the power of committed, persistent friendship. [Adapted from Stephen Mansfield, Mansfields's Book of Manly Men (Nelson Books, 2013), pp. 241-244]


The church is the body of Christ and the love of Christ compels us to live not just for ourselves, but for Christ. By living for Christ we share the love He has poured out for us.

AskMe #2879544 04/07/16 04:43 AM
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Luke 9:11 (NKJV)
11 But when the multitudes knew it, they followed Him; and He received them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who had need of healing.

He spoke unto them of the kingdom of God, the laws of that kingdom with which they must be bound, and the privileges of that kingdom with which they might be blessed. He healed them that had need of healing, and, in a sense of their need, made their application to him. Though the disease was ever so inveterate, and incurable by the physicians, though the patients were ever so poor and mean, yet Christ healed them. There is healing in Christ for all that need it, whether for soul or body. [Matthew Henry]




A friend recently asked friends to pray for the speedy recovery of her dad. He is 91 years old and has been working almost every day for 49 years in a hardware shop that he runs. He enjoys his work and would rather be there in the solitude of his hardware store than most anywhere else.

But like most of us we come to a point where we need healing; either for the body or the soul. In this case it was the body that needed healing. And even though we might trust in what modern medicine gives us, it sometimes lets us down. The good news is Christ will never let us down. He will do what is right for us.

My friend later replied after the request for prayers saying, �It worked! He was a little freaked out yesterday and my brother saved his life! Not worried like I was yesterday. He has heart issues yet all going to be treatable with a healthy salt free diet and lots of meds. He's not happy about that. Pills are not his thing. However, prayers were heard and he seems pretty good and may be at home tomorrow later in the day.�

God hears the voices of His people! He responds accordingly out of His love for us. So if you find yourself in need of healing for either the body or your soul take a moment and speak to God. Amen!

AskMe #2879668 04/12/16 04:57 AM
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Luke 9:23-24 (NIV)
23 Then he said to them all: �Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.

We must live a life of self-denial, mortification, and contempt of the world; we must not indulge our ease and appetite, for then it will be hard to bear toil, and weariness, and want, for Christ. We are daily subject to affliction, and we must accommodate ourselves to it, and acquiesce in the will of God in it, and must learn to endure hardship. We frequently meet with crosses in the way of duty; and, though we must not pull them upon our own heads, yet, when they are laid for us, we must take them up, carry them after Christ, and make the best of them. [Matthew Henry]





Benjamin Kwashi, a Christian leader from Jos, Nigeria, tells the following story of how the gospel came to his part of the country:

Missionaries came to my home area of Nigeria in 1907. One of them was a man named Reverend Fox. Reverend Fox was a professor at Cambridge University, and when he arrived his walk with Christ was so deep that he led many people to Christ. He founded a church and moved about 10 kilometers away to Amper, my own hometown, and founded the church there too. How a first-class person from the University of Cambridge was communicating to illiterates, I don't know, but God suddenly gave him favor and people were turning to Jesus Christ. So many people came to Christ that he wrote to his younger brother, who was a physician also in Cambridge, and asked him to come and help him because medical practice was needed. As his brother started the journey from England, Reverend Fox fell ill and died. Soon after his brother arrived, he also fell ill and died.

The Church Mission Society wrote to their father, who was also a pastor. When they told him he had lost two sons, he and his wife cried, but then they did something astounding. They sold their land and property, took the proceeds to the mission society, and said, "As much as we grieve the death of our two sons, we will only be consoled if the purpose for which they died continues." They gave that money and walked away.

Recently I looked through the profile of those two missionaries who came to my hometown. They both had first-class educations and degrees from the best schools. They died as young men�the oldest was only 32. They gave up everything to serve Jesus and bring the gospel to my country. Were they crazy? No, they had heard what Jesus had said, they believed it, and they were willing to stake their whole lives on the truth of Jesus' words. These men wanted to end their lives well. No matter how long or short their life, it wasn't going to be wasted, but they would invest it for eternity.


[Benjamin Kwashi, "Where Do You Want to Finish Your Life?" PreachingToday.com]


These men lost their lives serving Christ, but many others found their lives due to their service to Christ.

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AskMe #2879699 04/13/16 05:10 AM
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Romans 3:23-24 (NIV)
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Here the apostle tells us that all have sinned. If God�s mark is 100% purity in righteousness, then everyone falls short of that 100%. Some may be 10%, others 40% and maybe even some close to 100%, but we still fall short of God�s glory. God is not an unloving God, but instead by His grace allows us to be justified through the salvation of Christ Jesus.




Who are the real villains on Good Friday (or the story of Jesus' death)? It's kind of like the kid's TV show Scooby-Doo�that lovable morning cartoon about Shaggy, Fred, Daphne, Velma, and their dog, Scooby-Doo. "The Gang," as they were called, were always getting themselves into trouble here or there�getting robbed, scared, lost. In each adventure, their task remained the same: discover and catch the villain. Whether the villain was a ghost, a witch, or any other ghoul, every episode would end the same�the Gang would catch the villain, and in every single episode, the villain turned out to be a person you'd never expect. We'd always assume the villain would be that really mean tour guide, or the obsessive park ranger, or the mean gasoline attendant from the beginning of the episode. But as the Gang ripped off the mask of the villain, it was always quite the surprise. The villain was always the really nice janitor, the sweet teacher, or the seemingly "good guy."

Good Friday is also like a children's book titled The Monster at the End of This Book. The story is simple�page by page, furry old Grover, scared as could be, pleads with the young reader before him not to turn to the next page because, as the title aptly claims, there will be a monster at the end of the book. Grover worries whether anyone will follow his timely advice. The reader, of course, never does. Then we soon come to the end of the book and discover who the monster is�it's Grover. He's the monster at the end of the book.

Grover and Scooby-Doo teach us precisely what Christianity has been trying to teach us about Good Friday: the villain and the monster aren't who we thought they were. In the Gospel stories, everyone fails; everyone sins against Christ�even the best disciples, even the "good guys." In the end, the villain is us. [A.J. Swoboda, A Glorious Dark, pgs. 16-17 (Baker Books, 2015)]


The lyrics from the song The Hammer by Ray Boltz sums it up like this:

And I cried, "Who nailed Him there? This Child of peace and mercy. Who nailed Him there? Come and face me like a man. Who nailed Him there?"

And the crowd began to mock me, I cried, "Oh my God, I do not understand". Then I turned and saw the hammer in my hand.

I nailed Him there. The child of peace and mercy. I nailed Him there. I am the guilty man.

I nailed Him there with my sins and my transgressions. I cried, "Oh my God, now I understand. When I turned and saw the hammer in my hand.

AskMe #2879804 04/15/16 05:29 AM
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Romans 13:6-7 (NIV)
6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God�s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

These verses remind us that those who serve us, such as politicians, police, soldiers and other government officials are God�s servants. They are organizing and protecting a society and therefore they should be given respect and honor.




David Slagle, of Lawrenceville, Georgia wrote, my 21-month-old, who had just learned to say, "Daddy," had been struggling with asthma and an ear infection for two weeks. He coughed and sneezed continually, and his nose ran like a faucet. Each night when I came home, he ran to meet me at the door, smiling, coughing, nose running, yelling, "Daddy! Daddy!"

I was not repulsed by his runny nose or close range sneezes in the least (he "slimed" every shirt I own!). I love him deeply and enjoy his love for me.

I'm reminded that though I am sick with sin, God loves me deeply and desires that I run to him as a son crying, "Abba, Father."


We need to remember God loves us and provides for us. God put the nations in place. You can read through the books of Kings in The Bible and see how God put the rulers in place. Some rulers were good and obeyed God and treated the people well. Other rulers were desired by the people and God in His love allowed them to have what they chose. But so often those rulers were evil and it wasn�t long before they were begging God to put in a ruler that had the nation at interest and followed God.

Remember if we allow it, God is in control. God will give us the right leaders that we should honor and respect.

AskMe #2879972 04/18/16 05:00 AM
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Proverbs 18:10 (NIV)
10 The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.

The saints' security in God. It is a strong tower to those who know how to make use of it as such. The righteous, by faith and prayer, devotion towards God and dependence on him, run into it, as their city of refuge. [Matthew Henry Commentary]




When I was a teenager, I stole a hat. What is worse, I arrived at the store with a wad of cash in my pocket. Staring at the price tag, I thought, Hey, why should I spend my money on that hat? I can get it for nothing by pinching it, then save my money for something else.

As I headed for the door, the store manager stopped me. I [suddenly] wished I were dead. The manager saw I was not yet a hardened criminal and sent me home with instructions to have my parents call him back with the news or he would call the police. I went home to take my lumps. To this day, I remember what my 18-year-old sister said when she overheard me confessing: "How totally embarrassing. I've got a brother who's a thief!"

She called me a thief! �

[But] becoming ashamed of what we are as a result of what we do is a good thing and a necessary part of getting real about guilt. If you commit adultery, you are an adulterer. If you lie, you become a liar. I stole, and I had become a thief. It led me to my room weeping and ashamed of myself. But that was good! Painful, but good. [Adapted from John Ensor's The Great Work of the Gospel (Crossway, 2006), for the 5-18-10 entry in Men of Integrity (May/June, 2010)]


We all should remember the name of The Lord is a fortified tower. Keeping our minds on the righteousness of God and running to Him when we are about to fall keeps us safe

AskMe #2880036 04/19/16 05:10 AM
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Proverbs 19:19 (NIV)
19 A hot-tempered person must pay the penalty; rescue them, and you will have to do it again.

Those that are of strong, or rather headstrong, passions, commonly bring themselves and their families into trouble by vexatious suits and quarrels and the provocations they give. To rescue them from such only encourages them to act the same way again.




Recently, while inching along in traffic, I saw two men in conversation on the sidewalk. One man was seated on a box at the end of the freeway off-ramp. He was gray-haired and tired looking, and he held a cardboard sign with a message written by an unsteady hand: "Please Help." The other individual was a Latino man. They shared a brief exchange, and the Latino man walked away.

As I slowly drove by the spot where the man in need sat on his box, I caught a glimpse of the younger Latino man walking down the street. I immediately recognized his gait�it was Juan, an immigrant who attends the church where I pastor. I pulled over, rolled down the window, and asked Juan if he needed a ride.

"No, my car is right there," he said, as he pointed in its direction.

Confused, I asked what he was doing walking down the street by the freeway.

"I just stopped to pray with that man and get him some food," Juan said.

"Oh! Uh, wow," I said. Then I drove off, moved by Juan's generosity.

I found out later that day that Juan has stopped before for the old man. A member of the church choir once witnessed Juan literally take the shirt off his back�a shirt his wife had just given him for Christmas�and give it to the man.

Needless to say, it didn't take long to realize that Jesus was showing me what it looks like to be a neighbor. [Bill White, Paramount, California]


We can live with rage in hatred in our lives or we can be live Christ who lived with compassion, love, grace and mercy.

AskMe #2880129 04/21/16 05:18 AM
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John 10:28-30 (NIV)
28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father�s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.�

A reminder that the Father provided salvation through Jesus Christ and those who have been given eternal life are safe and secure in the Son�s and the Father�s hands. There is no one or no thing that can take that away.




Bob Mankoff is the cartoon editor for The New Yorker magazine. His jobs is a laugh-a-minute. The New Yorker has published more than 80,000 cartoons since its first issue. In an interview on 60 Minutes, Mankoff said that the Grim Reaper has appeared in the magazine's funny pages more than any other character. For example, in one cartoon the Reaper's latest acquisition is saying: "Thank goodness you are here�I can't accomplish anything unless I have a deadline."

Mankoff told 60 Minutes, "Honestly, if it wasn't for death, I don't think there would be any humor � Grim Reaper's going to get the last laugh. Until then, it's our turn." [Adapted from Ron Jones, Mysteries of the Afterlife (Harvest House, 2016), page 37]


While we associate The Grim Reaper with death, physical and spiritual death came about because of man�s sin. It was man who chose sin over life and therefore paid the price for his actions. Jesus Christ however paid the ultimate price when He died for us. Jesus took away the sins of the world. He took away the sting of death and offered us eternal life. May we forever be grateful to our Savior.

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Colossians 1:27-28 (NLT)
27 For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory. 28 So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us. We want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ.

Men must be warned and taught in all wisdom. We must choose the fittest seasons, and use the likeliest means, and accommodate ourselves to the different circumstances and capacities of those we have to do with, and teach them as they are able to bear. [Matthew Henry]



This letter was written by Southern Baptist Missionary to Iraq, Karen Watson, prior to leaving for the Middle East. The letter was dated March 7, 2003. Karen was killed, along with four other missionaries, on March 15, 2004.

Dear Pastor Phil and Pastor Roger:

You should only be opening this letter in the event of my death.

When God calls there are no regrets. I tried to share my heart with you as much as possible, my heart for the nations. I wasn't called to a place. I was called to him. To obey was my objective, to suffer was expected, his glory my reward, his glory my reward.

One of the most important things to remember right now is to preserve the work�.I am writing this as if I am still working with my people group.

I thank you all so much for your prayers and support. Surely your reward in heaven will be great. Thank you for investing in my life and spiritual well-being. Keep sending missionaries out. Keep raising up fine young pastors.

In regards to any service, keep it small and simple. Yes, simply, just preach the gospel�.Be bold and preach the life-saving, life-changing, forever-eternal gospel. Give glory and honor to our Father.

The Missionary Heart:
-Care more than some think is wise.
-Risk more than some think is safe.
-Dream more than some think is practical.
-Expect more than some think is possible.

I was called not to comfort or success but to obedience�.There is no joy outside of knowing Jesus and serving him. I love you two and my church family.

In his care,

Salaam,

Karen ["Keep Sending Missionaries," Baptist Press (3-24-04)]

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1 John 5:14-15 (NIV)
14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us�whatever we ask�we know that we have what we asked of him.

The matter of our prayer must be agreeable to the declared will of God. It is not fit that we should ask what is contrary either to his majesty and glory or to our own good, who are his and dependent on him. And then we may have confidence that the prayer of faith shall be heard in heaven. [Matthew Henry]





Imagine you've been convicted of a terrible crime, and are given the chance to speak for a few minutes before your execution. Would you express anger? Remorse? Love? The Texas Department of Criminal Justice, maintains a digital archive of every inmate's last statement, going back to 1976. This amounts to 534 prisoners.

One website analyzed all of these prisoners' final statements for common words and patterns. Of 534 total inmates, 417 inmates either spoke or wrote out a final statement. The most common word, used by 63 percent of all speakers, was love. Other words that convey affection�heart, care, loved�also ranked high on this list.

In most cases, the word is used to address family members who are present at the execution, on the other side of the glass window. But it is also used to express feelings toward the victim's family members, lawyers, the court, and even the warden/prison staff.

Here are a few examples of the actual last words from death row inmates:

- "I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you. Take care y'all."
- "I say this with love: I'm sorry. I say this for my family with love and with God, I love you. To the family of my boss, I love you. All I have is love."
- "I'll start by saying I love all of you."
- "I want to tell you folks there � I have a love in my heart for you."
- "First, I would like to give praise to God for the love and grace that he has allowed for all of this to come together." [Zachary Crockett, "What Death Row Inmates Say in Their Last Words]

No matter who we are, no matter how much we struggle in life, deep down we are all hungry to give and receive love�from God and others. God loves us deeply and when we ask God in accordance with love and desire for His will to be manifested; God will hear us and answer our request.

May God be with those who have steered away from Him, yet returned later to acknowledge their faults. May God bless each and every one of you! Amen.

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Proverbs 4: 13 (NIV)
13 Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life.

That good thing which is committed to us we must keep, and not let it drop, through carelessness, nor suffer it to be forced from us, nor suffer ourselves to be wheedled out of it; never let go such a jewel. [Matthew Henry]




Paul likens us to shining stars, and the word shine means to reflect. The scientific term is albedo. It's a measurement of how much sunlight a celestial body reflects. The planet Venus, for example, has the highest albedo at .65. In other words, 65 percent of the light that hits Venus is reflected. Depending on where it's at in its orbit, the almost-a-planet Pluto has an albedo ranging from .49 to .66. Our night-light, the moon, has an albedo of .07. Only seven percent of sunlight is reflected, yet it lights our way on cloudless nights.

In a similar sense, each of us has a spiritual albedo. The goal? One hundred percent reflectivity. We, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord. You cannot produce light. You can only reflect it.


[Mark Batterson, If: Trading Your If Only Regrets for God's What If Possibilities (Baker Books, 2015), page 220]


A soldier knows that his gun is there to protect him. He is to keep it with him at all times. Likewise prayer is also our weapon to defend against evil in life. So guard what you have learned that it may protect your life.

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James 5:16 (NIV)
16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

The confession here required is that of Christians to one another, and not, as the papists would have it, to a priest. Where persons have injured one another, acts of injustice must be confessed to those against whom they have been committed. Where persons have tempted one another to sin or have consented in the same evil actions, there they ought mutually to blame themselves and excite each other to repentance. [Matthew Henry]




In his bestselling book, Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson, founder of Equal Justice Initiative, tells the story of Jimmy Dill, a convicted murderer who had been scheduled for execution in the state of Alabama. Stevenson's staff took on the case in the last 30 days of Dill's life because Dill not only suffered from an intellectual disability, but his conviction had been based on suspect evidence that Stevenson's team believed to be erroneous. Had Dill been able to afford a lawyer the first time, he wouldn't be on death row. As it happened, though, nothing could be done. In the last hour, Dill called Stevenson to say thank you for trying.

In his chapter entitled "Broken," Stevenson reflects on our common story of brokenness:

When I hung up the phone that night I had a wet face and a broken heart. � I thought myself a fool for having tried to fix situations that were so fatally broken � I worked in a broken system of justice. My clients were broken by mental illness, poverty, and racism. They were torn apart by disease, drugs and alcohol, pride, fear, and anger � In their broken state, they were judged and condemned by people whose commitment to fairness had been broken by cynicism, hopelessness, and prejudice �

After working for more than twenty-five years, I understood that I � do what I do because I'm broken, too. My years of struggling against � injustice had finally revealed something to me about myself. Being close to suffering, death, executions, and cruel punishments didn't just illuminate the brokenness of others � it also exposed my own brokenness � We all share the condition of brokenness � I desperately wanted mercy for Jimmy Dill and would have done anything to create justice for him, but I couldn't pretend that his struggle was disconnected from my own. The ways in which I have been hurt�and have hurt others�are different from the ways Jimmy Dill suffered and caused suffering. But our shared brokenness connected us. [Adapted from Ethan Richardson, "No Wholeness Outside Our Reciprocal Humanity," Mbird blog (1-7-16)]


Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. For confession depowers the sin within us and helps us to begin the process of healing.

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Matthew 18:15 (NIV)
15 �If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.

This verse reminds us to be sensitive in the way we confront people. First we should always go to them privately to point out their fault in love. If they listen and heed what you say then you have won them over to do what is right.




Toward the end of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, there's a scene where Harry, Ron, and Hermione are about to break the rules and leave their dormitory after-hours to stop the bad guy from stealing a powerful magic artifact. Before they leave, though, they must face none other than Neville Longbottom, a rather bumbling, ineffective student in their class. "You're sneaking out again, aren't you?" Neville asks. "I won't let you. You'll get [our classmates] into trouble again." He fails to stop them, and Harry and his friends manage to stop the villain. But, surprisingly, at the end of the year banquet, headmaster Dumbledore gives the greatest honor to Neville. "It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies," he explains, "but just as much to stand up to our friends."

Although Neville never becomes truly close with Harry, Ron, or Hermione, he still stumbled across two of the key traits of a friend or an accountability partner: the ability to recognize patterns of sinful behavior, and the courage to call the person out on them.

[Lisa Eldred, "More Than Single: Finding Purpose Beyond Porn," Covenant Eyes]

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Romans 12:10 (NIV)
10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

It properly denotes the love of parents to their children, which, as it is the most tender, so it is the most natural, of any, unforced, unconstrained; such must our love be to one another, and such it will be where there is a new nature and the law of love is written in the heart. [Matthew Henry]




Gordon MacDonald shares the following story about visiting a small group of men and women affiliated with Alcoholics Anonymous. MacDonald said that he visited the group because he has friends who are recovering alcoholics and he wanted to see for himself what they were talking about. Here's what he found:

One morning Kathy�I guessed her age at 35�joined us for the first time. One look at her face caused me to conclude that she must have been Hollywood-beautiful at 21. Now her face was swollen, her eyes red, her teeth rotting. Her hair looked unwashed, uncombed for who knows how long.

"I've been in five states in the past month," she said. "I've slept under bridges on several nights. Been arrested. Raped. Robbed (now weeping). I don't know what to do. I � don't � want � to � be � homeless � any more. But (sob) I can't stop drinking (sob). I can't stop (sob). I can't � "

Next to Kathy was a rather large woman, Marilyn, sober for more than a dozen years. She reached with both arms toward Kathy and pulled her close, so close that Kathy's face was pressed to Marilyn's ample breast. I was close enough to hear Marilyn speak quietly into Kathy's ear, "Honey, you're going to be OK. You're with us now. We can deal with this together. All you have to do is keep coming. Hear me? Keep on coming." And then Marilyn kissed the top of Kathy's head.

I was awestruck. The simple words, the affection, the tenderness. How Jesus-like. I couldn't avoid a troubling question that morning. Could this have happened in the places where I have worshiped? Would there have been a space in the program for Kathy to tell her story? Would there have been a Marilyn to respond in this way?


It take love and honor to put others first, letting them know you care for them and will be there with them through the struggles. May you be like Marilyn who reaches out to the Kathy�s of the world.

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John 3:17 (NIV)
17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Ever since man sinned, he has dreaded the approach and appearance of any special messenger from heaven, as being conscious of guilt and looking for judgment: We shall surely die, for we have seen God. If therefore the Son of God himself come, we are concerned to enquire on what errand he comes: Is it peace? Or, as they asked Samuel trembling, Comest thou peaceably? And this scripture returns the answer, Peaceably. [Matthew Henry]




Stephen Baldwin is one of the famous Baldwin brothers, a family of Hollywood actors.

Referring to his newfound faith in Christ, Stephen said, "I've never been as excited or happy about where I am in my life. There's no one I know in Hollywood who can say that."

Stephen's wife came to Christ in 2000 and announced to Stephen, "I'm going to be serving Jesus now." Baffled at her conversion, Stephen thought, Who does this Jesus dude think he is coming around here?

The events of September 11 were pivotal in his change of mind as he realized that the impossible was possible. As Stephen describes it, "It made me say the Bible is true, and Jesus Christ could come back tomorrow."

How has his life changed? Stephen's work as an actor "has largely dried up." He won't work in a film that includes adultery, violence, or profanity.

He's traded his Porsche for a Chevy Malibu.

Stephen spends his available time preaching the gospel. He directs and hosts a DVD project aimed at reaching young people through extreme sports.

As for his marriage, Stephen and his wife are now "as one." Stephen truly is a new creation. ["Baldwin's Great Awakening," The Week (11-5-04), p. 12]


Christ came into the world to change the lives of people for the betterment of themselves and mankind. There is a hope offered through Christ that cannot be found anywhere else. The hope is a gift of salvation that Christ freely offers to any who ask for it. I�m thankful for the work Christ has done in Stephen�s life and the life of the other Baldwin�s as well as many other people in this world. Let us praise God for the work He has done in our lives.

AskMe #2882780 05/31/16 05:52 AM
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1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 (NIV)
16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

The first care of the Redeemer in that day will be about his dead saints; he will raise them before the great change passes on those that shall be found alive: so that those who did not sleep in death will have no greater privilege or joy at that day than those who fell asleep in Jesus. [Matthew Henry]


In his book It Happens After Prayer, Pastor H. B. Charles Jr. provides the following helpful illustration of why God often makes us wait for the answer to our prayers.

One hot afternoon, a certain woman walked to her neighbor's produce stand to buy grapes. The line was long. And each person seemed to get special attention. But she waited patiently. When she finally made it to the front of the line, the owner asked for her order. She asked for grapes. "Please excuse me for a minute," was the answer. Then the owner walked away and disappeared behind a building. For some reason, this rubbed the woman the wrong way. Everyone in line before her was greeted warmly. They were given special attention. And, most importantly, they were served immediately. But she was forced to wait. And when she got to the front of the line, she was forced to wait some more. She was offended. She felt the owner took her regular business for granted. The longer she waited, the angrier she became.

Finally, the produce stand owner reappeared. And with a big smile, he presented her with the most beautiful grapes she had ever seen. He invited her to taste them. She had never tasted grapes so good. As she turned to leave with her delicious grapes, he stopped her. "Oh yeah, I'm sorry I kept you waiting," said the farmer. "But I needed the time to get you my very best."

How long have you been in line waiting on God to get to your request? How long have you been waiting in line for God to meet a need, solve a problem, or open a door? Whatever you do, don't get out of line. And don't stop praying. Wait on God.

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Proverbs 31:10 (NIV)
10 A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.

Throughout Proverbs there are verses that speak about the problems between husband and wife. However, Proverbs 31 focuses on a special woman, a woman who honors her husband, brings him delight and cares for the household and the children of the home.



After ten years of marriage, Cindy and Chip Altemos were in the long process of getting a divorce. The proverbial baggage they brought from previous marriages seemed too great to overcome, so they separated and even agreed to date other people.

Five years into the painful separation, Chip was in the hospital with kidney failure. With his health deteriorating rapidly, his soon-to-be ex-wife came to his aid�in spite of Chip's being in another relationship at the time. "He was still my husband. There was no way I could walk around with two kidneys, and he had none," Cindy told the press. "It was the right thing to do." She agreed to donate a kidney, telling Chip there were no strings attached�no written agreement concerning a better share in divorce court.

The transplant took place on February 21, 2007, and a funny thing happened as they both recovered in the hospital: they fell back in love. Chip thought to himself, Why would I want to date someone else, when I have a woman who would give part of herself so I can keep living? He put an end to his other relationship and asked Cindy to come back home with him. The two will be married 17 years in October.
[Sam McKee, Sunnyvale, California; source: Associated Press, "Kidney Saves Marriage," www.foxnews.com (5-6-07)]


Sometimes it takes looking at what another person is willing to give, before you realize what you could be giving up. I have seen couple break up and then get back together because they realized there was something special they were leaving behind.

My wife and I are celebrating our 37th wedding anniversary today. Marriage is not always perfect. There are problems and obstacles you will always face. I�m thankful for a wife who has watched over the affairs of our home, watched after our children. She is a noble wife that I have full confidence in, although there are times I probably haven�t expressed it as well as I should. In fact there are things I know I have said that I shouldn�t have said and things I should have said and didn�t. She is a woman who honors God and lives the life He would have her live.

I love you Robin and I thank you for the 37 years of marriage with you. Thank you for being a loving wife and a mother who has cared for her children. Happy anniversary!!!

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Ephesians 3:17-19 (NIV)
17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord�s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge�that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

It is a desirable thing to have Christ dwell in our hearts; and if the law of Christ be written there, and the love of Christ be shed abroad there, then Christ dwells there. Christ is an inhabitant in the soul of every good Christian. Where his spirit dwells, there he swells; and he dwells in the heart by faith, by means of the continual exercise of faith upon him. Faith opens the door of the soul, to receive Christ; faith admits him, and submits to him. By faith we are united to Christ, and have an interest in him. [Matthew Henry]



In his new film (2016), A Hologram for the King, Tom Hanks plays a middle-aged American businessman who is sent to Saudi Arabia for a special project. The film addresses an important issue we all face: no matter what we've done or how much we've accomplished, there still comes a point when we ask "How did I get here?"

Hanks said that he felt particularly connected with his character's sense of self-doubt and dislocation. "No matter what we've done," Hanks said, "there comes a point where you think, 'How did I get here? When are they going to discover that I am, in fact, a fraud and take everything away from me?'" Despite having won two Academy Awards and appearing in more than 70 films and TV shows, Hanks says he still finds himself doubting his own abilities. Hanks put it this way:

It's a high-wire act that we all walk. There are days when I know that three o'clock tomorrow afternoon I am going to have to deliver some degree of emotional goods, and if I can't do it, that means I'm going to have to fake it. If I fake it, that means they might catch me at faking it, and if they catch me at faking it, well, then it's just doomsday. [NPR: Fresh Air, "Tom Hanks Says Self-Doubt Is 'A High-Wire Act That We All Walk,'" (4-26-16)]

If you look to the world and ask, �AM I GOOD ENOUGH�, there will always be someone to come back and say, no, you are not good enough yet. But no matter where you are in life, Christ will always say, I love you and you are good enough for me. Put your love and trust in Christ!

AskMe #2883071 06/07/16 04:34 AM
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Psalm 90:2 (NIV)
2 Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

Against all the grievances that arise from our own mortality, and the mortality of our friends, we may take comfort from God's immortality. We are dying creatures, and all our comforts in the world are dying comforts, but God is an ever living God, and those shall find him so who have him for theirs. [Matthew Henry]



As a cold-case homicide detective, J. Warner Wallace called himself a hardcore atheist and "evidentialist" because he believed the truth was always tied to the evidence. But at the age of thirty-five, he took a serious look at the evidence for Christianity and became a follower of Christ. Here's how Wallace summarized his conversion:

As an atheist, I was very comfortable as the captain of my own ship � I had been a police officer for nearly ten years and was used to being in charge in difficult situations. I didn't like intrusions, and there was no room for God in my life. I am not a theist today because I was raised by believers�I wasn't. I am not a believer because I was hoping for heaven or afraid of hell�I had no sense of value for either. I am not a theist because I was trying to fill a "void" or satisfy a "need"� I felt none. I believe God exists because the evidence leaves me no reasonable alternative.

Warner added:
Jurors evaluate evidential cases every day across our country, and they are asked to make a decision even though they don't have every question answered or every possible detail explained. When the overwhelming evidence points to a reasonable conclusion, jurors make a decision � The standard of proof (SOP) in the most critical of criminal trials is "beyond a reasonable doubt," not "beyond a possible doubt." I've never conducted the perfect investigation, and we've never presented the perfect case before a jury. But in my career as a cold-case detective, I've never lost � If there's enough evidence to make a decision, they're asked to make a decision. When it comes to the case for God's existence, there's enough evidence. [J. Warner Wallace, God's Crime Scene (David C. Cook, 2015), page 183]


God and God alone created all these things we call our own - From the mighty to the small the Glory in them all is God's and God's alone. (Steve Green)

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Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV)
13 �Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.



Dr. John Stott's last bit of advice to his assistant before he died in 2011 was simply this: "Do the hard thing." Stott believed that choosing the easy trail, the road most taken, and the path of least resistance can only end in mediocrity�even if it comes with praise. [The Gathering, "David Brooks: A Holy Friend" (10-2-14)]


The question today is, which will you take, the narrow gate or the wide gate? For the narrow gate leads to a narrow road that leads to life and only some are willing and seek to find the narrow gate. The wide gate leads to a broad road that leads to many roads of destruction. There are many who enter because it is the easy thing to do. Will you do the hard thing today and take the narrow gate that leads to Jesus Christ?

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